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Monster

Summary:
I'm nothing but a monster burning in a hell that only exists in my head. There's no hope left until one harmless glance chances logic and binds two eternal enemies together in a twist of fate. Can the escape from this hell be found in an infuriating dimpled grin? Or is this another dark, dirty trick of my own mind? A forbidden passion, heat, and intense anger—this is no fairytale.


Notes:
[Disclaimer: Monster is an originally plotted fic. The ideas within this fic are not to be copied in any way, shape, or form—I have not given my consent to any manner of copying. All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the intellectual property of their respective owners. All canon concepts and characters are the property of the Twilight Saga's author, Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended. Similarities are for the sole use of fan fiction, and no profit has been or will be benefited from the posting of this fic.] Emerging Swan Award 2012, nominated into Fandom Choice Awards.


13. Talk to Me

Rating 0/5   Word Count 4161   Review this Chapter

"You can talk to me
Talk to me
You can talk to me
You can set your secrets free." - Stevie Nicks.

Chapter Thirteen

Talk to Me

March 12th, 2004.

The scream seemed to last forever. Beth was still by my feet, and all eyes were on me. Mouths were open, gaping. Shock buzzed in the air, freezing everyone in place. Deep inside of me, past the burning, past the anger, and past my own shock, I knew I had to get away from there. Fast.

My legs moved quickly. I shoved away chairs blocking my way, racing through the still room. No heads turned. Nothing changed. It was almost as if everyone was frozen in time, with the scream breaking through the thick tension.

Once I had burst through the cafeteria doors, chaos erupted.

My dominant foot slid on the slick hallway, the other slipping on the smooth surface of the floor. I started to lift myself up, but was knocked down by a wave of frantic, terrified students when they swarmed down the hall and into the cafeteria.

"Oof." I spluttered and clenched my jaw while I was forced back against a locker. The shouts and cries echoing down the hall made me think that the panic was because I'd just beaten the life out of a kid. A well-known one, at that.

It was almost like I was invisible. The kids kept going, pushing and shoving while they poured past me. Nicole, Jacob, and Jacob's friends seemed to have all flowed out with the crowd. I stood and braced myself against the wall, my gaze darting around, searching for a way out. The door was jammed. Maybe the window? No, the wall was too slippery.

I didn't have much time to search. Again, everything changed in just a split second. A teacher tumbled down the stairs, her arms flailing. Her shrieks were loud enough to stop the stream of kids for a moment. It was hard to tell what she was saying because she was talking so quickly. But when she crumpled onto the floor and gave one last shout, her voice was heard clearly.

"Help! There's a barbarian in the school! He's rabid, get the children! Help the children, please!" The woman's eyes were wide while she let out a breath and went limp on the floor.

The words sent a jolt of confusion through me, but I pushed myself forward while the screams rose. My body dropped down, my arms raised over my neck protectively while I somersaulted through the frantic crowd. Kids were racing in both directions, desperately trying to escape.

In the panic, nobody even stopped to look at me. Eyes were wide with fear, all locked on exits. I could hear the shatter of windows as they broke and crashes as the doors were plowed down. Books were raining down from the rails of the floor above, papers flying around as if caught in tornados. Waves of kids were pressing out into the halls while others jumped clean over the rail, free falling into the midst of the chaos. Knowing that heading into the crowd was a death sentence, I dropped to the ground against the wall, breathing deeply while I tried to clear my thoughts.

When I focused, I started to notice other things. The crowd faded to a blur as my hearing caught the snarls and shouts bouncing down the hall around the corner. My eyes focused on the sharp edge of the wall. The man was coming this way. I could feel it.

He was probably the victim of a rabid animal: crazy and infected with disease, sick enough to burst into a school and rip into nearest flesh he could find. Goosebumps raised on my arms when I imagined the feel of teeth tearing skin. Then I would shake and burn, riddled with more disease.

Focus, I commanded.

I continued to crouch on the wall, my chest still while I waited. My heart was thrumming in my throat like the wings of a hummingbird. The man was coming, any second now.

Thump, thump…thump, thump…thump, thump…

Suddenly, the shouts and snarls were silenced. Or maybe they were just drowned out by the bellow of the teacher's protest. I blinked, and the next thing I knew, a man was charging toward me, his shoulder pressed into the wall while he avoided the thick crowds.

The first thing I noticed was that he was barefoot, his feet streaked with dried mud that traveled up his legs. He wore loose shorts that looked as if they were once jeans but were now torn slightly and weathered, riding low on his hips. His muscled arms pumped while he raced toward me, his broad chest rising and falling with every steady breath. In the last bit of the second that it took my eyes to sweep over him, I focused on his face. My stomach dropped as I recognized the man.

Paul.

I sucked in a breath when two heated arms scooped me up. I was in motion, wind rushing at my face while I lay, tensed in the rolling muscles of Paul's arms in utter shock. Paul. Paul! Paul was back, and Paul had come for me. A sudden rush of relief zapped my body and I slumped in his arms, feeling limp. Paul would know what to do—he would take care of this.

The crowds continued to flow, but Paul ignored them. He held me tight against his bare chest while he sprinted down the hall with amazing speed. His body never swayed, feet never losing the swift rhythm. Although tremors rocked through the foreign feeling of his body, the warmth of not only his skin, but also his return brought me back to life.

Neither of us spoke while Paul zipped toward the door, angling his body so his shoulder thrust it open. I covered my face against the waves of rain, hearing Paul's feet patter on the slippery pavement. Parting my arms slightly, I noticed that we were making our way through the teacher's parking lot. It was small enough for the minimum amount of staff, snuggled perfectly into the back of the school. The speed of Paul's exit would leave the teachers chasing him far behind. And never would they think to check here.

When we reached the far corner, Paul's arm muscles flexed and he dropped me gently on my feet. A sharp shiver hit me as he moved away from me, walking quickly down the parking lot. I took a minute to remember how to move before I followed after him.

I stared at Paul, flooded with emotions: loss, confusion, happiness, and relief. But he didn't seem to notice. He didn't speak. With a roll of his shoulders, he sauntered over to an expensive looking black car, popped the door open, and flicked his gaze over to me, still avoiding my eyes. His arm gestured for me to get in.

Not wanting to waste time, I hurried into to the passenger side, protecting myself from the rain with my arms. The soft leather seats swallowed me as I slid onto them, my skin sticky against the seat. Paul was already buckled into the driver's seat, his hands clenched on the wheel and the seatbelt strapped across his chest.

I met his dark, troubled gaze and found myself studying his face. It'd been many months since I'd seen him and he looked . . . older, somehow. The look in his eyes was more serious, like someone who had seen a darker side of the world. His hair was now cropped short, spiked and covered with droplets of rainwater. He'd abandoned sweatshirts and only wore a t-shirt, the sleeve rolled up to reveal round muscles and a black tattoo. I recognized the multiple faces of animals on the tattoo; it was just like Sam's tattoo.

Paul cleared his throat. I glanced up at his stare. He watched me patiently, his expression expectant.

I dropped my gaze to my lap, shifting awkwardly in my seat and staring at my balled fists. "Let's get out of here before we're caught. You have some serious explaining to do."

His reply was a curt nod and a rev of the engine. The next thing I knew, the car was shooting down the green, misty road and into the forest.

We drove in silence. The miles passed away like our steady breaths. Paul stared straight ahead, his eyes focused. Occasionally, his lips moved, like he was talking silently to himself. I kept my gaze expectant, but I didn't get a single word from him.

I could only manage the silence for so long. First, I started twirling my thumbs. Then, when I really wanted to speak, I would distract myself by humming. I could only hum so much, though. Eventually, I just couldn't take the silence anymore.

"Talk to me, Paul," I demanded.

Paul's shoulders shifted. His throat moved as he swallowed, fingers rearranging themselves over the wheel. His eyes set straight ahead. "Hi."

I instinctively tensed at the sound of his voice. It had changed so much since the last time we'd spoken. His voice was deeper, rougher. It was stronger, too, and not as jokingly cheerful as it used to be. I had a feeling that I was speaking to a stranger.

With another small breath, I spoke again in the same tone while staring at my hands. "More than that, Paul. I need answers. Where have you been? What's been going on? How did you know where I was?"

Paul didn't answer. He continued to stare straight ahead, his muscles flexing with the pressure of his hands. He wasn't even looking at me.

"What happened to you?" I growled.

When he didn't answer, I lifted my head to look at him. A blob of color, somehow out of place against the bright green forest caught my eye. I squinted as I strained to watch the blur as it moved. My eyes slanted when I realized that the blur was moving.

"Hit the brakes!"

My hands flew out when I shouted, one on the handle of the door, the other on Paul's strong arm.

The car squealed and shook while Paul's foot slammed down hard on the brakes. I could see his teeth gritting and feel his muscles moving as he swerved. My heart was racing as the car jerked to a stop. I watched Paul as his chest rose and fell. His dark eyes were narrowed, moving as they followed something outside.

Filled with sudden curiosity and relieved that Paul was unharmed, I pressed my hands into my seat to support myself and pushed myself up. I gazed out of the windshield, expecting to see just a few passing black-tail deer.

But there were no deer. In fact, the creature wasn't a deer at all. Standing before the car was a giant wolf.

He was huge. I never knew wolves could get that big. His fur was jet black, slicked down with the rain. He was rather broad, filled out as if there were strong, rounded muscles beneath his thick fur. His pointy, white teeth were bared and gleaming, his ears pressed back against his head.

All I could do was stare. The wolf moved closer, his broad shoulders shifting in rhythm with his steps. He huffed once, dipping his head while he peered through the windshield, his eyes locked on Paul. I blinked, and the wolf was gone.

My lungs screamed and my ears popped. I opened my mouth, letting out a big gust of air. My gaze was trained on the road where the wolf had been standing. Well, at least I thought it was a wolf. Maybe it was just my head making up things again. But Paul had seen it, too.

"Paul, what the—" I paused, cutting myself off while I noticed the empty seat next to me. Puzzled, I raised my head, only to see Paul strolling over to my door.

He looked so casual, one hand in his pocket, the other raking through his hair. He looked as if it were completely normal to move that quickly without a sound. He didn't seem to notice as he stepped around the car, one hand reaching for the handle.

Paul popped open the door, extending a hand toward me. I couldn't see his face, but I knew the rage was still there; his hand was shaking. I felt a sudden twinge of irritation at his sullen mood. Letting out a soft exhale, I slipped my hand into his and let him pull me up.

The second I heard the click of the door shutting, I went into action.

My shoulder twisted when I dropped back, yanking Paul into a stumble. He was more sure-footed and heavier than I'd thought he would be, but it didn't matter. I was still moving as he stumbled, my body ducking under a frantic swing from his arm. My foot pressed down onto Paul's while my body crashed into his, forcing him down onto the gritty road in one mighty shove.

I was shaking. My hands quivered, fingers blurring. I pressed them onto his chest while I slid my feet back to balance myself. My teeth ground together, my eyes locked on his. His shoulders shifted roughly underneath me, but I wasn't letting him go anywhere.

"Paul," I began in a rough voice, forcing the words through my teeth. "What's wrong with you?"

Paul still refused to speak. His throat expanded slightly when he swallowed, and he rolled his head to the side, pressing it against the ground. Pebbles were embedded in his exposed skin, little dots of dirt creating defined patterns around the pebbles. I continued to wait, ticking the time away in beat with his choppy breaths. Eventually, his chest started to heave. His hands curled into fists and were slowly raised in my direction.

Still, I didn't loosen up. I continued to stare, my hands twisting slightly in reaction to the feverish temperature of his skin. I could feel my face scrunch slightly in confusion.

I didn't realize exactly how big of a mistake I had made until Paul exploded.

The sensation was like flying. I shot through the air like a bullet out of a gun, the world whipping by me in a smear of green and grey. Everything happened so fast; I didn't understand it. Somehow, my brain registered the danger and ordered my hands to stretch out. My fingers wrapped around the branches of a tree, grasping to pull myself to a stop. I swayed slightly, a small trickle of crimson dripping off my scalp where it had scraped against the tree.

Once I had steadied myself, my surroundings became clearer, and I was acutely aware of the blood trailing down my face. I lifted my fingers to my forehead, making contact with the hot liquid. When I lowered my hand in front of my face, I stared at the blood in confusion, for a moment.

It was then that the snarling sounded.

It started off slow at first, soft, even. It wasn't long until it grew, thundering like the roar of high winds and the crack of lightning. Time seemed to drag on around me as I lifted my feet, shifting my position until I was facing what I expected to be a ferocious beast…

What met my eyes wasn't human, but wasn't a beast, either.

A wolf, too large to be ordinary, slid up from his crumpled stance on the ground and into a crouched, defensive one. Its gray pelt was matted with water, though it didn't seem to notice. The wolf lowered its head, glaring at me, and it snarled once more, shaking his head. Droplets of saliva flew from his lips and splattered to the ground, blending with the rain. It lifted its paw and reared back.

Even a complete idiot could have guessed what would happen next.

The wolf lunged toward me, his paws pounding against the soft soil and claws upturning thick, black earth. Swiftly, I dropped to the ground, dodging his charge. The wolf barreled into the thick trunk of the tree I had used to upright myself earlier, snarling and snapping.

The impact that should have crushed his skull didn't seem to bother him; he growled again, shaking it off and turning back toward me. This time, when he charged, I managed to strike his back leg with one hard shove of my foot. As he buckled to the ground, I rolled out from underneath him. Taking this as a good opportunity, I grabbed his front leg near the ankle bone and twisted; with a sickening pop, it fell limp.

While the wolf righted himself, snarling out in fury, I pressed my palms flat against the ground. I hurriedly lifted myself to my feet, gazing the wolf and immediately lifted my arms, mocking surrender.

He growled lightly, his eyes scanning my hands and then dropping to my face. I stared into his eyes, recognizing the dark features. Slowly, a smirk etched its way onto my lips.

"Whoa, " I breathed.

The wolf—Paul—seemed to relax, his posture slumping and becoming less tense. I watched as he began to quiver, his form shaping back into a human. I looked at Paul and realized he wasn't wearing any clothing. I cleared my throat quietly and quickly looked away. When I heard footsteps nearing me, I turned back to face him.

Dressed in his attire from before, he approached me. I noticed the heat that seemed to be pulsing off him. The warmth was magnetic, pulling me in. I found myself leaning closer, questions swirling inside my head.

"Why are you so hot?" I froze, my throat tightening and the subsided heat again rushed in my face the second after I blurted out my question. "Warm! I mean, why are you so warm?"

Paul grinned and gave a chuckle but made no comment. He watched the swaying of the trees above us. "Uh, it's an . . . adaptation. Warmth keeps us from freezing to death. And it's an advantage."

I nodded, forcing my gaze on the bumpy trail ahead. "Against what?"

"Oh, you would know who I'm talking about if you thought about it. Something horrible . . . irritating, problematic, heartless. . ."

"Jacob?"

Paul grinned, chuckling quietly. He stretched his arms out, causing his sleeves to slide farther up his shoulder. I averted my eyes while he spoke, but I could still see his dark gaze in the corner of my eyes. "The Cold Ones."

I felt the breath in my throat hitch. An image of those red, hungry eyes flashed across my mind and I clenched my fists, swallowing back the bile in my throat. "Vampires."

"It's good to see that you're already aware of the supernatural."

"You get to kill them?"

Paul nodded, kicking a rock out of his way. He shoved his hands in his pockets, but I could still see that they were clenched and shaking. Something was upsetting him. I pushed back my curiosity and stepped in front of him, raising my hands so they hit the hard surface of his chest, stopping him. I met his gaze.

There was a short pause until I spoke. "You've missed a lot."

The corner of his mouth twitched. "I know." He was quiet for a moment. "I've been watching for a while."

My eyes swept over his face. I nodded once. In silence, we both began to trudge out of the forest, knowing exactly where we were both heading without discussing it. The forest was damp and somewhat gloomy, the slight sunlight filtering between the clouds covering the floor with thousands of intertwining shadows. The droplets that captured the light shimmered. When necessary, Paul watched carefully while I made my way over the thick, snarled roots of trees, under knobby branches, or over the pointed thorns of bland, scattered underbrush.

The breeze ran its icy fingers through my hair, brushing against my shoulders. I shuddered a little, though Paul didn't seem bothered; he merely stood closer to me, the heat radiating off him heating my body.

Once we reached the cliffs, I stopped and turned to Paul, letting one of the many questions out. "Why did you have to leave?"

Paul glanced at me then turned his head in a different direction, sighing lightly. "I couldn't stay. I get set off easily. If I was around someone and got pissed . . . I would phase."

I didn't say anything. Instead, I peered over the rush of water while all of this settled in. The rush of the current crashed against the mossy boulders in fizzy, white sheets, spewing out into the air. My feet shifted slightly, causing some of the ground below me to crumble into the river.

My eyes were fixed in the waves as I imagined myself as that little pebble, caught in them right now. I imagined the tug of the water on my skin as it led me along, taking me farther before emptying me out on an island, somewhere far, far away. Somewhere where things weren't so complicated.

"Paul," I murmured, breaking the comfortable silence between us. "What do you think would happen if I jumped?"

At the sound of my voice Paul's head lifted, meeting my gaze. His eyebrows scrunched slightly. "Jumped where?"

I smiled a little, dropping my gaze and waving my hand at the water below me. "If right now, I jumped. What would happen?"

For a long moment, Paul was quiet. His dark brown gaze was burning on the corner of my eyes, but I didn't look at him directly. "I'd catch you." He paused before adding childishly, "Duh."

"No." I laughed lightly to myself, shaking my head. "I mean, what if you didn't catch me?"

Paul was silent. I continued to stare at the rush of water, waiting for him to answer me. But he didn't. Slowly, I swung my head around to look at him.

He was shaking. His whole body seemed to be going into some sort of panic, jerking and shuddering. Paul's dark eyes were fire, smoldering. Heat seemed to be rolling off his skin. He stared at me, the fury looking as if it would cause him to explode.

"So that's it?!" Paul's voice boomed through the distance between us, reaching my ears before I could even register it. "The going gets tough, so you just throw yourself off a damn cliff and then boom, problem solved!"

I didn't answer, but just stared at him, my eyebrow curving at the outburst.

"You're not like that, Jordan," Paul continued, his ranting voice still steaming. "I know you. Don't ever say that. Ever."

It took me a few minutes to speak. I held his gaze, my expression smooth and my body still.

"Excuse me, Paul," I started slowly, my mouth slowly moving to form the shape of the words. "But please, take a little joke. It couldn't hurt."

Paul just stared at me before letting out a big gust of air, his chest dropping with the release of breath. He brought his hand to the back of his neck, awkwardly dropping his gaze to the ground. "Sorry. . . I didn't mean it, honest. Lately I'm just so. . ."

"Out of it?"

He nodded slowly, his gaze flickering up to meet mine. "Yeah."

"I know the feeling." I gave him a reassuring nod and then moved away from the water, distancing myself as much as possible.

The next thing I knew, Paul's arms were around my shoulders, wrapping me into a warm, soft embrace. I found myself returning the hug. My lips turned up in a hint of a smile.

"You don't care that I might have killed that girl, right?"

Paul gave a chuckle. "Might have? That girl's good as gone. Who taught you how to do something like that when I wasn't around?"

"It's kind of a long story."

"So?" Paul shrugged, lifting his wrist as if examining an imaginary watch. "I've got time. Can we get something to eat though?"

Smirking at his antics, I nodded and stepped back, starting for the trail. "Yeah, I guess I'm pretty hungry too. I can explain on the way back to Sam's."

Paul grinned, jogging after me. "Sounds like a plan to me. But hurry up, will ya? I'd die for a good sandwich right now."

I narrowed my eyes in a fake glare. "Don't jinx it."

He just laughed and gestured for me to start talking. I walked with him, starting to explain all of what had happened, right from the start. He listened, too, staying close and always trying to make some sort of joke in between my breaks. I didn't complain, no matter how stupid the things he said were. Because that was what a friend was for.